A week ago, I was invited by Areef Ali to do three Excel seminars in the beautiful twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago. At one of the breaks in the first day, one of the students in the class showed me the most perplexing problem in her Excel. She and her co-worker, both using two different laptops, typed in 1234567.89 and then pressed the Comma Style icon in the Home tab of the ribbon.

Her co-worker saw $1,234,567.89, but on this computer, the result was formatted as $1234,567.89!

I started looking through the Excel Options settings, and even got my PC and started comparing her Region and Language Settings in the Control Panel line-for-line. Everything apparently matched.

In the end, it turns out that a setting was “hiding” way up at the top of the Region and Language dialog… one PC had English – Trinidad and Tobago, and that was the one missing the comma. I asked the students in this general vicinity if their company ever used the $1234,567 format and no one had ever heard of this.

Change this to English - US

Change this to English – US

So, to recap, if you find yourself with Excel missing commas beyond the first comma that separates thousands and hundreds, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button in Windows 7
  2. Type Region in the search box
  3. Choose Region and Language in the search results
  4. At the top of the Region and Language dialog, change the Format to English (United States)
  5. Click OK

After the three days of seminars, we took the weekend to sight-see in Trinidad. It is a beautiful country. If you will excuse the non-Excel content, here are a few of our photos.

The highlight was the 1.2 km hike up a mountain to the Rio Seco waterfall (shown in the video). I know people say this, but I’ve never seen water this blue. When someone convinced me to try self-meditation 20 years ago, this is the place I would imagine me going. Of course, the hike was muddy, slippery, and at my age, I am lucky to have returned without a twisted ankle.

The water was so blue, but you could see the fish dart about.

At the Rio Seco Waterfall, the water was so blue, but you could see the fish dart about.

A close second was watching the turtles on Grand Riviere beach on the north side of the island. From April through June, these massive turtles come up to lay eggs. 30 days later, tiny turtle hatchlings are born. After letting the hatchling imprint on the sand, the tourists now get the hatchlings to the water, avoiding the bird predators. But, then the hatchlings face a bevy of predators in the water. 15 years later, the lucky ones who survive come back to Grand Riviere to nest.

Leatherback Turtle at Grand Riviere. This momma turtle was "small" - her shell was only 6 feet from neck to tail.

Leatherback Turtle at Grand Riviere. This momma turtle was “small” – her shell was only 6 feet from neck to tail.

Fishing boats in Grand Riviere

Fishing boats in Grand Riviere

Mary Ellen Jelen holds a turtle hatchling.

Mary Ellen Jelen holds a turtle hatchling.

Leatherback turtle uses back flippers to dig a nest

Leatherback turtle uses back flippers to dig a nest

MrExcel uses his laptop as a Steel Pan

MrExcel uses his laptop as a Steel Pan